Monday, September 26, 2005

HR oddities

"Honest" Reporting once again, contorts the facts to fit its own agenda. Is this what they mean when they scream media bias? Oh my.

There's a flashy new Honest Reporting video making the rounds, arguing that the "media blamed Israel for the destruction of Gaza's synagogues." Rediculous, and not just because the video commits the familiar fallacy of representing five cherry-picked quotes as the whole entire media.

Here are two of the quotes. (The other three aren't much better, but because they don't also appear on the HR website*, I have no way of capturing them accurately.)

From the BBC:
Palestinians came streaming to the settlements that caused them so much pain, to sightsee and to loot. Israel stole thirty-eight years from them; today, many were ready to take back anything they could.

The quote is from a viedo report filed by Orla Guerin. Does it blame Israel? Hardly. It merely presents Guerin's own view of the occupation, and seeks to explain the behavior of the Palestenians. Though you might say that Guerin's report absolves the Palestenians of responsibility for their own behavior, in the quote HR provides no one is being blamed.

The Philadelphia Inquirer
Those were "protest fires."

Here, too, the synagouge arson is being explained, even smoothed over. That's not nice, and had the HR video grouched about justifications of the attacks, I'd stay silent. But instead HR is using a quote that does one thing, to demonstrate that something else happened. That's not nice, either.


*Oddly enough, only two of the five quotes from the video, have found there way on to Honest Reporting's own website, where they are published as part of an alert, called "Synagogue Desecrations" which accuses the media, not of blaming Israel, but of justifying the attacks!

Why did HR use a bland word like "Desecrations" in the title of the alert when "Destructions" would have been more accurate? No idea. Why is the alert about "justifying" when the video is about "blaming?" No idea. What makes an anti-Israel quote big enough and bad enough for the video, but not for the HR alerts? Again, no idea.

Finally, has HR committed a journalistic sin by relegating three of the five quotes to the obscurity of a video? Only if HR is expected to live up to the impossible standards they seek to impose on everyone else.